April 12, 2024

Law

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Black Education – Have We Made Progress?

Black education can use the rich fertilizer of African proverbs. Here is one from the Mafa people of Cameroon, northern Nigeria, and southern Niger: Nobody kills an ignorant person who begs for wisdom. This comes from a culture where even accepting a gift without first refusing it could be considered as begging, and, therefore, disgraceful; yet, humbling yourself to learn something that you should have known in the first place is ranked above prideful ignorance.

I’ve thought about this proverb a great deal, especially concerning those black people who hold the highest academic degrees. It is a great achievement to go through the rigors of Western education and excel. Thanks to integration, this leaves black people open to participate in not only the Western economy and political arenas, but also certain levels of the Western social sphere.

Still, I cannot help thinking about the Jews and how well integrated they were into German society before World War II. Like African Americans, they were judges, doctors, professors, artists, etc. Many of them had disassociated themselves from their cultural and religious heritage just as Westernized black people are doing. Not believing themselves to be like other Jews who had not risen to socially acceptable heights, the Westernized, assimilated Jews may have been more vulnerable to voting for the very laws that would later send them to the concentration camps.

Western education, the basis of black education, systematically teaches that white scholars were the first to discover the way the world and the universe works and that white people have made the greatest contributions to society. This is systemic racism.

Why does this matter? Because you must first deny yourself in order to accept this premise. Look at the price the Jews paid for this self-denial. How many ended up in concentration camps before they rediscovered who they were?

Today, out of all other countries in the world, the United States has the largest percentage of its population in jail or tied up in its legal system. According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics report, surveying prisons, at year end 2008, 7.3 million American adults were under correctional supervision. China has only 1.5 million with four times the population of the U.S. and Russia has less than one million. African Americans, who make up officially 13 percent of the U.S. population, make up nearly one half of the U.S. prison population.

Even more about the state of blacks in America, by far, black people (even educated blacks) die at higher rates than others in the population from common diseases such as cancer; black children seem destined to kill one another faster than they can replace themselves; and, great-grandmothers are raising their great-grandchildren because both grandmothers and mothers are dead, on drugs, or in jail. Great-grandfathers, grandfathers, and fathers statistically are just absent, mostly for similar reasons.

The best source of this information is in a public school. Just teach at an inner city school for even a short while and you will see what our children are enduring far more so than those in other races.

Many educated black people are oblivious to these problems or are more prone to blame those who are suffering for making bad choices, thanking God that they are not like, “those people.”

Westernized black education discounts the psychological effects of slavery and segregation and their legacies upon the black psyche today. For many educated blacks, the extent of their compassion is to tell suffering blacks to “go get a job!” This discounts the 100 percent employment rate of slavery and the fact that it was illegal for black people to be unemployed during segregation. This dismissive attitude among many educated blacks also discounts the fact that during slavery, blacks were not the recipients of the fruits of their labor and that most blacks during segregation made only enough to keep them in a very sick state of debt, not by choice as many educated blacks live today, but by necessity.

It seems highly likely that blacks educated only under the Western educational system forget that having the right to control their own money and participate in both the economy and social spheres of this country are advents newly granted. Furthermore, these rights are subjected to the whims of American laws, which, for the benefit of black people, have been extremely fickle. On average, we can expect a major change about every 50 years or so and the tide is turning. Although there was a slight decrease in prison rates during 2008, statistics show that since the 1980s, prison incarceration rates are growing exponentially.

How does the above proverb fit into this?

Does wisdom suggest that the date on a calendar heralds progress?

Does wisdom suggest that the ability to effectively participate in an economy which consumes the earth’s resources to extinction at the price of human rights demonstrates progress?

Does wisdom suggest that abandoning your self-hood to gain acceptance in social spheres built upon a foundation that crushed the humanity of your ancestors verifies progress?

Does the Westernized educational system promote wisdom or “progress”?

If Western education does not promote wisdom, then might not Westernized, black education increase your ignorance?

Nobody kills an ignorant person who begs for wisdom.

I hope that we African Americans discover that this African proverb is true.